As a broke college student in Los Angeles, I often find myself living a rather conflicted lifestyle: one day, I’m sitting on my bedroom floor making ramen out of a Keurig, and the next, I’m getting a pre-brunch juice flight with the girls in Brentwood. But then again, life is a series of checks and balances, so I usually roll with it.

But the other day, I had this brilliant idea. Why not blend the two? Can I not live a trendy LA lifestyle on a budget? Or at least, within my meal plan?

After great deliberation, I decided to make my meal plan work for me. Instead of going to the on-campus restaurants to order Chinese takeout every night, I chose to fully embrace the “college LA lifestyle”, if there ever was such a thing.

So on Monday morning, instead of getting my usual bagel and coffee, I beelined for the juice bar. (Mainly so as not to have second thoughts on the whole idea).

Day 1:

Unlike many, I am lucky enough to attend a school where the dining hall food has evolved greatly from your average sloppy joe. In fact, we have three separate dining halls where you can swipe your meal card for healthy juices and fruit smoothies. So, I figured that with that many options, a juice cleanse wouldn’t be too tough.

Boy, was I wrong.

I ordered the first drink, a 24 oz "Superfood" green juice, and headed to class. It was a bit sugary so it took a while to finish. Come noon, I was happily surprised to find that I was still full, so I waited a couple of hours before getting the next drink.

As I walked into the dining hall again, the smell of pizza wafted through the air. My stomach growled and it took all of my willpower to get in the juice line instead.

My second juice was an orange and apple juice mix that I crafted myself. I added a vitamin boost to be extra healthy and secretly hoped that the powder would provide a bit more substance to get me through the next four hours.

Only two hours later I returned to the same line, extremely tired from the lack of food. I downed the juice in under five minutes.

Day 2:

I woke up the next morning with the stabbing pain of hunger in my stomach. I refrained from rolling over and grabbing the granola bar on my nightstand. Instead, I ran quickly to the dining hall to grab another green juice, the only one that had been mildly effective in relieving my hunger.

By lunchtime, I was hungry and exhausted. I tried to study but my stomach kept growling. I went in for juice number 2.

What happened next was something I wish I didn’t have to admit. I faltered. It was early in the week but I walked into the dining room cranky and tired of juice. As I walked to the juice bar, all I could smell was pizza. I began to question why I was doing this “diet” in the first place. The juice guy gave me a confused look as I stood in front of him in the midst of an existential crisis.

A moment later I made a split decision: the diet wasn’t worth it. I strode confidently over to the pizza line. I had never been happier.

Looking Back

Even though I lasted less than a quarter of a week, I felt as if I came out of this attempt at a juice cleanse as a new woman. As I sat in my dorm devouring my pizza, I realized that I had made many mistakes in my approach to dieting.

First, I had forgotten the fact that I eat nearly as much as the average football player on a day to day basis. Instead of easing into a healthy lifestyle, I threw myself into it, making it much more difficult for myself than, say, simply eating fewer carbs or cutting midnight snacking.

I also didn’t do the research. Diets of all kinds require much forethought and planning. One cannot simply decide to drastically modify their diet without researching the consequences and substitutes. What I had failed to realize was that each juice that I drank had less protein than a slice of white bread and more sugar than a bottle of Coca-Cola. Even with the vitamin boost, I was getting less than a full daily serving of vitamins and practically no fiber.

Though I started this diet for the sake of doing something borderline outlandish, I learned that even the most expensive and legitimate juice cleanses don’t necessarily contain the nutrients needed to sustain a healthy diet. Rather, they often times are just as unhealthy as one's normal diet. So next time you think about going on a “cleanse” or “detox”, think about maybe adding a few more vegetables, fewer carbs or maybe just balancing your diet